What is co-living?

Last updated on: 17 11월 2023

The concept of co-living is becoming more and more popular. What began as a niche in the real estate market, is slowly going mainstream and it’s easy to understand why.

The travel industry has also seen the potential and adopted the co-living concept. With communal space and facilities shared in what are sometimes huge complexes, the notion of co-living is the perfect layout for digital nomads looking to explore a new destination.

Co-living seems to be a great alternative to traditional renting, for people who are open to sharing their living space to meet other like-minded people.

But what is co-living exactly? Let’s have a look at the definition of the co-living concept.

The definition of co-living

Nowadays you can find the co-living concept spreading across the world, but the idea originally emerged in Denmark in the 1970s. 

The term is used to describe shared living spaces that come in many shapes and forms: From the so-called “big box co-living” buildings with hundreds of small pod-style rooms to larger shared apartments with communal areas. 

However, all these living arrangements have one thing in common – the willingness to create a place for like-minded people to create both private spaces but also a shared space for community arrangements.

Many think a co-living space is nothing else than a flatshare, but there is a massive difference between these two. A flatshare is usually an informal agreement between a group of people to rent a flat.

Co-living on the other hand is built around the idea of community and often includes shared services, like coworking spaces within the building. Co-living spaces are often run by companies and get more popular due to the huge number of young people moving to expensive cities to find work, take a semester abroad, or simply bringing their work with them as digital nomads.

The advantages of co-living

The first advantage that is often mentioned is flexibility and convenience. When young people move to a new city, they often have to sign a one-year lease, bring their own furniture, and set up all the utilities. However, with co-living spaces, there is often less commitment which is perfect for people moving from city to city.

Co-living is also great for people who want to be around others. Life in a big city can be lonely and living with like-minded people can make a big difference. Living and working together often leads to more creativity. A great example to mention is Facebook. Back in 2004, Mark Zuckerberg rented a five-bedroom house, where early Facebook employees lived together and built the social network. There is definitely value in putting bright young minds together, in a shared place where ideas can thrive.

Last but not least there is the advantage of reducing costs. The price you pay for a co-living space varies depending on the city, but overall it will always be cheaper than traditional rent and save you the hassle of dealing with expensive deposits.

The disadvantages

Some people are worried that work and life boundaries overlap too much in a co-living space which could lead to a delicate balance between privacy and social interaction. Those people might want to consider a coworking space instead.

Others think that genuine community can’t just be “manufactured” or that it’s simply an attempt for companies to profit off of their own staff. 

The co-living concept is not for everyone but it is definitely a lifesaver for many young professionals, and it’s exciting to see how the trend will develop further in the future.

Co-living for digital nomads

As mentioned earlier, the travel industry is beginning to cash-in on the idea of co-living. Over the last decade, we have seen a huge rise in digital nomads and expats, who want to experience living in new destinations for a temporary timeframe. This has created a demand for long-term rental, which the accommodation business has tried to accommodate with different solutions. It has led to new concepts like Airbnb, and a bigger focus on long-term deals from hotels.

What these otherwise good solutions have been missing, is the ability to bring like-minded people together in a community. Some people might prefer to stay alone or with people they know, when traveling as digital nomads, but for others, a part of the journey is to meet new people along the way. Normally that would mean, joining a coworking space, attending local events or meetup groups, etc. 

The co-living concepts manage to embrace all these things and facilitate them under one roof, with co-working facilities, events for the guests, and a lot of other great benefits. Therefore we are seeing a big change in the way digital nomads travel these days and companies like Outsite, Selina, and many others, are creating a more flexible and convenient solution that arises from the values of a great community.

We hope you found this article useful. Let us know what you think about the co-living concept and please share your co-living experience with the rest of the community, in the comment section below.